There was nothing remotely unusual or surprising about the music performed at Charlie's last night unless you consider spending a pleasant evening listening to the songs of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern a bit out of the ordinary.
Certainly those who gathered to hear Joyce Carr and Dick Thomas turn back the musical clock found the experience refreshing. Carr is an engaging vocalist with a cheerful if not overpowering stage presence. Her accompanist, Dick Thomas, tucked away in a corner and barely visible behind the piano, exerted even less a physical force on stage; but his clean straightforward arrangements perfectly suited is companion and the many songs she unearthed.
Together they offer a subtle blend of song and sentiment which, while it isn't likely to incite an audience to stand and cheer boasts enough charm and humor to distract even the most ravenous diner from the club's menu.
Wisely, Carr stays within the limitations of her range, building a song slowly and taking full advantage of her bright, articulate delivery. Although she was quite convincing singing a blues by Berlin, more often it was the ingenious, incessant word play of Cole Porter that afforded her the most latitude and the audience the most laughs.
Joyce Carr and Dick Thomas next appear at Charlie's on Jan. 19.